tv Nancy Grace HLN November 12, 2009 1:00am-2:00am EST
president obama has called for a department of veterans affairs that is better in-centric, results oriented and 4-looking. results oriented and 4-looking. -- ic. i am proud of the 298,000 great americans who work every day to serve veterans, over 30 percent of them veterans themselves in partnership with the congress, our nation veterans service organizations and the american people, we will ensure that america's legacy is a commitment, unwavering commitment to compassionate care for its 23 million veterans.
from lexington and concord to antietam and dennis bygettysbur, kaisan, to fallujah, and afghanistan, and countless other places, the warriors we honor today have earned it the love, the respect and the admiration of a grateful nation. our guest today leads our efforts to honor veterans with great passion and resolved. and i know that firsthand. there is no stronger advocate for those who serve in uniform today for have served our nation in years past. ladies and gentlemen, it is with great personal pleasure and professional pride that i present to our commander in
chief, the president of the united states of america. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you so much. please be seated. thank you, secretary shinseki, for the generous introduction. more importantly, the extraordinary bravery with which you served as both on and off the battlefield. i want to thank our standing vice-president, joe biden and his wonderful wife for being here today. we want to thank them for their sons service as well. we are glad he just got back from iraq. we want to say a special word of thanks to brigadier-general carl
horst, the commander of the military district of washington for a lifetime cost -- of distinguished service to our nation. to the president of the paralyzed veterans of america, thank you for being here and to all of the veterans service associations for their extraordinary work day in, day out on behalf of our nation's heroes. to members of our armed forces into veterans who are here today, i am deeply honored and humbled to spend a veterans day with you in this sacred place. for generations -- where generations of heroes have come to rest and generation of americans have come to show their gratitude. the many honors and responsibilities come with this job, but none is more profound than serving as commander in chief. yesterday i visited the troops set fort hood.
we gathered in remembrance of those we recently lost and prayed -- paid tribute to the lives they lead. there is something that i saw in them, something that i see in the eyes of every soldier and sailor, airman, marine and coastguardsman that i have had the privilege to meet in this country and around the world. and that thing is determination. in this time of washington are, we are mindful that the generation serving up -- deserve a place alongside those who have made sacrifices before. in an era where many act only in self-interests, they have chosen the opposite. they have chosen to serve a cause greater themselves. many, even after they knew they would be sent into harm's way. for the better part of the decade, they have in toward tour after a tour in distant in
difficult places. they have protected us from danger and given others the opportunity for a better life. to our veterans, to the fallen, and to their families, there is no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service in your sacrifice. this is a place where it is impossible not to be moved by that sacrifice. but even as we gather here this morning, people are gathering all across america not only to express thanks of a grateful nation, but to tell stories that demand to be told. stories of a wars, battles that echo throughout history, stories of patriots who sacrificed in
pursuit of a more perfect union, of a grandfather who marched across europe, of a friend who bought it -- fought in vietnam, a sister who fought in iraq, stories of generations of americans who left home at barely more than boys and girls and became men and women and return home heroes. when these americans who have dedicated themselves to defending their lives to defending it -- defending this country, many settled on a life of service, choosing to make their entire lives a tour of duty. many chose to live a quiet life, trading one uniform for another -- doctor, engineer, a teacher, mother, father. they bought homes, raised families, built businesses. they built the greatest middle class the world has ever known. some put away their medals, state humble about their service and move on.
some caring shrapnel and scars found that they could not. -- caring shrapnel and scars, found that they could not. for veterans, this is another day of memories that drive them to live their lives each day as best as they possibly can. for our troops, it is another day in harm's way. for their families, it is another day to fill the absence of a loved one and -- and have concern for their safety. 4 are wounded, it is another day of recovery. in this national cemetery, it is another day when grief remains fresh. so, while it is important and proper that we mark this day, it is far more important we spend all our days determined to keep the promises we have made to all answer this countries call. carved into the marble behind me are the words of our first
commander in chief, when we assume this soldier, we did not lay aside the citizen. just as the contributions that our servicemen and women make to this nation do not end when they take off their uniforms, neither do our obligations to them. when we fulfill those obligations, we are not just keeping faith with our veterans. we are keeping faith with the ideals of service and sacrifice upon which this republic was founded. if we're honest with ourselves, we will admit there have been times where we as a nation have betrayed that sacred trust. are vietnam veterans who served with great honor. they often came home and greeted not with gratitude or support but with condemnation and neglect. that is something that will never happen again. to them, and to all who have served in every battle, in every war, we say that it is never too
late to save thank you. we honor your service. we are forever grateful. and just as you have not forgotten your missing comrades, neither, ever will we. our service men and women have been doing right by america for generations and as long as i am commander in chief, america will do right by them. that is my message to all veterans today. that is my message to all served in harm's way, to the husbands and wives back home during the parenting of two. to the parents to watch their sons and daughters of to washington art and the children -- and to their children. to the families to lay a loved one to rest, american will not let you down. we will take care of our own. to those who are serving in faraway places today, when your tour ends in d.c. our flag, when you touch our soil, you will be
called in an america that is forever here for you just as you have been there for us. it is my promise, our nation's promise to you. 91 years ago today, the battlefields of europe fell quiet is world war i came to a close. we do not mark this day is a celebration of victory. we mark this day as a celebration of those who made victory possible. today, we keep in our minds of the brave men and women of this young nation, generations of them, who believed in and fought for a set of ideals. because they did, our country still stands. our founding principles still shine. and nations around the world that once knew nothing but fear and out of the blessings of freedom. that is why we fight.
with hopes of a day when we no longer need to. and that is why we gather and solemn remembrances, to recommit ourselves to the hard work of peace. there will be a day before long when this generation of servicemen and women step out of uniform. it will build families and lives of their own. god willing, but they will grow old. and someday, their children and their children's children will gather here to honor them. thank you. god bless you. and god bless the united states of america.
morning, a wonderful, rainy, washington morning. if you were in the infantry, i am sure you appreciate a day am sure you appreciate a day >> welcome to the world war ii memorial. and also we make a special welcome to any world war ii veterans who are here. my second order of business to commence is to ask you to be sure to check this is turned
off. make sure your cell phone is turned off, please. our organization is joining today with the national park service as a sponsor of this event. friends of the world war ii memorial. we also welcome and armed forces color guard from the military district of washington. after they have presented the callers, we will join together and singing the national anthem. please stand and remain standing until the conclusion of the invocation and the retiring of the colors. please stand. >> forward march.
bombs bursting in air, gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there. o say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? >> right shoulder. >> today, we on are not only the veterans but of veterans service organizations and agencies. two employees of the veterans
administration were among those who lost their lives in texas and our hearts go out to them today as well as others in morning in that great tragedy. during our time of the invocation, let us remember them. it is my pleasure to introduce lieutenant colonel william calvert to lead us in our invocation. he is a retired chaplain in the u.s. army in world war ii veteran. she was here with us last memorial day and five years ago participated in the dedication of this memorial. upon the conclusion of the invocation, the colors will be retired. mr. kelberg. -- mr. calvert. >> let us pray. may wheat out together outmay we -- may we bow together in
it is now my privilege to introduce the superintendent for operations for the national mall and that the memorial parks division for the parks service. >> good morning. on behalf of the national park service, it is my pleasure to welcome you. the men and women who work here care for the world war ii memorial and today we probably celebrate of veterans day. welcome to our distinguished guests and veterans. memorial for their help in making this possible. i would also like to thank the secretary of transportation. thank you for your public service and support. our national parks range from a
dusty places like the grand canyon to national icons like the statue of liberty, to places that hope remember our history and heritage like the martin luther king birthplace and atlanta and the gettysburg history park. our parks are a system of 390 to special places set aside by the american people so that all my experience of our heritage. the national mall and memorial parks are some of the oldest protected properties in the national park system. these provide visitors with opportunities to commemorate a legacies and sacrifices of war veterans. they commemorate sacrifices for freedom and celebrate the legacies that have gone before us. dedicated in 2004, the world war ii memorial pays tribute to the brave people who sacrificed for our nation during world war ii,
a diverse group of men and women born into the great depression era. they came together to overcome the challenges of their time. a@@@@@@@@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ in the five years since its dedication, more than 21 million people have honored veterans by visiting the memorial. we remain committed to preserving this a special symbol of courage, the world war two memorial. today, we join distinguished guest and visitors in thanking our veterans for which it stands. thank you. [applause] >> i also want to issue an
invitation to you to any of you who are standing, you can have some of the seats. please do. that's why they're here. airman of the national world war ii committee responsible for the site and design required to build this memorial. he is a retired ambassador, past president of the foundation and is a world war ii navy veteran, serving in the pacific theater of operations. ambassador williams. [applause]
>> good morning. not a particularly graceful entry. i am delighted to be here. the first official public observance of veterans day 2009 in washington begins here this morning at the national world war ii memorial in a sacred area sanctified by the gold stars on the freedom wall. our gathering in this symbolic space, facing the gold stars, has been made possible by the encouragement of the national park service and the mall's new superintendent. we thank him and the park service for this cooperation. today, we pay respects to all of our veterans, but especially
veterans of world war ii. it was on veterans day 14 years ago that soil from the american battle monuments commission's world war ii military feet -- cemeteries in europe and africa was scattered by world war ii veterans on the ground and that was to become this, the national world war ii memorial. on the cold and also rainy morning, president clinton, speaking at the world war ii veterans, he said let us honor the ideals they defended and the dreams that they fought and died for. stating "from this day forward, this place, on the mall, belongs to them and to america's world
war ii generation " " looking back, i now wish these words had been inscribed on the a walls of the memorial. other than mr. clinton's moving words, there are other solid reasons why world war ii veterans should have a legitimate sense that this memorial blancs to them. first, for their own service -- belongs to them. first, for their own service. they provided the american and national battle monuments service for support in order to win approval for the site of the world war ii memorial. with the threat of an opposition and 1997, the national veterans
service organizations, beginning with their very first public hearing, came boldly forward with strong and vigorous support. the national commander of the american legion was a powerful and eloquent witness, carrying the message to the commission of fine arts that the unanimous resolution representing 3 million members that fully supported the rainbow pool site and the design concept. the commander in chief of the veterans of foreign wars' testimony made it clear that they wanted the approving agencies to reject the mounting opposition to both the world war ii memorial site and also its design. later that same year, at this time in the public hearing, before the national capital planning board, the national
veterans of the battle of the polish, and the national commander of the -- a battle of the bulge, and another national commander decided to act affirmatively on the site and the design. this went on for four more years with the opposition having a highly organized disinformation campaign gaining some sympathy and support in the national press. throughout this prolonged and difficult process, the american battle monuments commission was fortunate to have the continuing encouragement and support from veterans and their service organizations. they never once refused an abnc request to testify to bring their influence to bear. i was given the impression that they could not wait to get into
the ring to wage a passionate battle for the world war ii memorial against all comers. they're loyal support did not stop there. even before the site and design of the morial was finally approved in 2000, -- of the memorial was finally approved in 2000, veterans groups of all sizes were at work raising money for the memorial's capital campaign. contributions from world war ii veterans and veterans' service organizations big and small represented a large and very significant percentage of the total amount raised. still, a very significant that percentage of the total amount raised. a reason why these veterans should take a well-deserved proprietary interest in their
world war ii memorial. given this history, the friends of the national world war ii memorial would like to recognize and salute on this veterans day, the single importance of the veterans service organizations' role in building this memorial. they should take justifiable pride in the evidence around us, the inclosing stone architecture, the pillars, the bronze, the victory reeves, the fountains, and the goldstar this -- a victory wreathes, the fountains, and the gold stars. the memorial stands on the centerline of the national mall in the presence of washington and lincoln as a landmark symbol of national unity and the spirit of america during world war ii.
a general who will be succeeding me has also reminded me how helpful the veteran service organizations were to him in making the events held throughout the country, commemorating and celebrating the 50th anniversary of world war ii so successful. another kudos to the american veterans service organizations for their long history of service to veterans and to the memory of world war ii. i close with some thoughts inspired by max's moving article in "the new york times" last saturday. "i was reminded by these words of the world war ii's memorial
gold stars. as a symbol of sacrifice, they stand together in silence, row on row, like the headstones and arlington and the crosses in our military cemeteries abroad. if the stars could be inscribed, each one would have 100 names, 100 stories to tell. if they could speak to us, as archibald roach -- wrote they would say whether our lives were for peace or a new hope, it is you who must say, we leave you, our dead, give them their meaning. challenging words, fitting words
for the world war ii memorial. thank you. [applause] >> as a follow-up to ambassador williams, if you are here representing a veteran service organization, would you please stand? we thank you for everything you have done for veterans. thank you very much. [applause] now to warm us up a little bit, we are going to hear from the air force brass quintet. we thought that would be ideal for a day like this. ♪
[applause] >> thank you. that was just what we needed. we are very pleased this morning to have the secretary of transportation. from illinois, he was for 14 years and member of the house of representatives. as chief of staff to what a congressman. congressman michael was a world war ii veteran and over the years, an advocate for veterans and their needs. he is representing the merchant marine, a very important part of our military during world war ii. the symbol of the merchant
marine is on the flagpole at bases as you come into the memorial. let's welcome this morning come up ray lahood. >> good morning. i am honored to join senator i am honored to join senator akaka and other guests as we gather to defend all veterans who have protected freedom and democracy against the forces of tyranny, oppression. of those i would like to pay special tribute is the u.s. merchant marine. throughout our history, our forces could not fight without the merchant marine and other commercial ships they commanded
filled with supplies. in world war ii, when our troops needed oversees transport, the u.s. merchant marine was there. they sacrificed thousands of lives to complete their mission. when critical evacuation drill needed during the conflict in korea, the u.s. merchant marine was there to rescue thousands of troops, refugees, vehicles. during the first gulf war when troops required four times as much equipment as the normandy invasion, the merchant marines were there to deliver the vehicles, helicopters. today, more than 85% of supplies and equipment for conflicts in iraq and afghanistan are carried aboard ships crude by civilian mariners. we remember all of these brave individuals risking their lives crossing the atlantic, the
pacific, the persian gulf, to transport essential goods or to bring soldiers and others out of harm's way. the credit more deservedly then the merchant marines. on behalf of everybody at the united states department of transportation and the maritime administration, i want to thank the merchant marine for their dedication to our country. we must always honor sailors, airmen, guardians, marines, and mariners who serve us in these times of conflicts -- times of conflict and are carrying on the legacy of the greatest generation. thank you so much for honoring a our veterans. god bless you and god bless america. thank you very much. >> it is now my distinct pleasure to welcome today's guest speakers, daniel akaka from hawaii, the chairman of the
senate committee on veterans affairs. as a young man, he witnessed the attack on pearl harbor and served his country in the war in several areas throughout the pacific. as many young veterans did, he was able to attend college because of the gi bill. he made a career in public education and was represented to -- elected to the house of representatives in 1976. ladies and gentlemen, senator daniel akaka. [applause] >> thank you very much. mr. ambassador, secretary, veteran service organizations,
and all of you who have an interest and have had an interest in world war ii and the wars that affected our country, i wanted to say aloha to all of you. i had other things on my mind. on the morning of december 7, 1941. i remember the morning as a clear, beautiful, sunday morning in hawaii. i was 17 years old at the time studying at the school for boys on the island of oahu. on the roof of my dormitory, i watched the japanese planes aswarm -- swarm.
they delivered a crippling blow to the pacific fleet. i did not know what life had in store for me. i knew that the world had already changed. some people presume that the attack on pearl harbor would break america militarily and frightened the public into a corner. they said that americans were too caught up in their own concerns and self interest to make the sacrifices necessary to win the fight of this magnitude. they would be proven wrong. the young people who set their lives and dreams aside to fight that war. the families who tended to
victory gardens and by the children who went house to house, rounding up scrap metal for the war effort. when the war was over and millions of men and women prepared to be american citizens again, rather than soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, there were doubts again. sometimes it was that a generation of veterans could reintegrate into society -- society without disaster. they were wrong. when we come home, we return to a grateful nation and to aid gi bill of rights, that while it did not always run smoothly, reminded us that we still had our lives ahead of us. the young veterans went on to beat -- lead what would come to be known as the greatest
generation. presidents come up nobel laureates, and leaders of their communities. they're defining contribution will not be it to win a war, as great an achievement as that was, it was what they did with the peace that they had earned. many live lives of service and sacrifice long after they took off the uniform. let us consider them. when we reflect at this memorial on this day, the day for set aside to remember the first world war ending, their brothers, sons, and daughters now filled the ranks of the veteran service organizations. they advocate not only for the needs of today, but for the veterans of tomorrow and for the nation and the ideals that they
wanted to defend. the service organization deserves special thanks this day because of what they stand for and what they fight for. as we stand here at the world war ii memorial, we know all too well that the servicemen and women face similar challenges to those from our youth. if we remember the lessons of world war ii, that our warriors can do great things and return to a grateful nation that provides them with the care and support that they have earned and that all americans have a role to play in winning what ever measure of peace we gain. if we remember these lessons, we can do more than honor the legacy of the world war ii generation.
we can extend it. thank you very much. have a great day. [applause] >> i would ask those who are going to participate in the wreathe playing a part of the ceremony to come over where this is. this is a focal point of our ceremony. we want to thank the park service for all of the work they have done to make this happen. i will announce who the person is and for whom the wreathe is being laid. first, representing the white house, michelle jones, a 25-year